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general officers informing them of the importance of audit readiness. also we have greatly increased accountability and oversight by embedding audit readiness criteria in the annual performance plans of all army senior executive service civilians. in addition we're engaging commanders and holding them accountable for implementing effective internal controls. building a competent workforce requires confidence of communications and training efforts. in 2012 alone we have trained more than 8000 personnel across all business functions in audit readiness principle and implement the control control in the army business processes. we are using the army learning management system, an online system, to broaden our reach at a cost effective manner and enabling users to assess the
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training content within 24 hours a day. finally, i established the army financial management workforce transformation working group to identify the required workforce skills and staffing levels that will support our financial management transformation. we are strengthening internal controls through installation level process and control assessments, corrective action implementation, and business process and controls train. at the end of june we reached two major milestones that demonstrate how far we have come in implementing internal controls. first, we inserted audit readiness for nine processes at 10 different installations for the statement of budgetary resources. an independent auditor will validate the assertion through the second of three sbr exams leading up to the secretary of defense is 2014 sbr mandate. the first sbr exam in 2011
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resulted in a qualified audit opinion, that was a three installations, that highlighted that that standardization of business processes across locations is in place. which is a major achievement for the army. the second sbr exam evaluates our internal control environment. second, in june the army asserted audit readiness for three missile programs. javelin, hellfire, and toe, which represents approximate 60% of the operating mitchell and supplies. the dod ig will conduct exams to validate this assertion. for the remaining challenges without a architecture which enables our erp system to better support army audit readiness objectives. we are conducting internal assistance of our erp's and materials theater systems using the gao by financial system
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control manual which provides the guidelines and auditor will follow when conducting a financial statement audit of its federal agency. i am confident that the army's erp for fully support the armies audit readiness goals as independent auditors have already confirmed that gfebs to be substantially complied with ff mia and duties standard financial information structure. gfebs is about 93% compliant. we have achieved some significant accomplishments in the last 12 months. we receive between opinion on appropriations received. for ex-im one we received a qualified opinion and were fully deployed tonight, our new accounting system. i recognize the challenges we face. i'm confident we are -- shooting, sound plan that will
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achieve the ndaa mandate. our plan is sufficient resource and has a full support of the army's top leadership and has resulted in successfully achieving several milestones to date. i am personally committed to this effort and i look forward to working with the members of the subcommittee, gao and the comptroller to ensure that the continued improvement of the army's business environment. thank you. >> thank you. ms. commons? >> good morning. mr. chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide you an update on the work we are doing to achieve audit readiness. we appreciate your engagement and focus in this area. the department of the navy remains fully committed to achieving audit readiness within the timeframe established by the secretary of defense and the congress. we have a detailed plan and believe we are on track to
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accomplish the goals necessary to achieve audit readiness. our financial management community, business process owners, and service providers are working hand in hand to accomplish the task necessary to improve our business processes. in some cases such as transportation of people, the business process owner of the senior executive level have taken the lead to examine the process and to ensure that the interim controls surrounding the business process are effected. they have demonstrate the functional ownership that we need by taking the initiative to implement the changes required for audit readiness, trained the staff, and monitored sustainment efforts. the marine corps continues under audit. we are leveraging the lessons learned from their audit experience over the past two years. where they have implemented
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processes and procedures that meet audit standards, we have incorporated them in our detailed plan for the entire department, and share them with other departments and defense agencies. this year we are focused on current their activities, and i am hopeful that we will receive a positive report in the december-january time frame. over the past year the department asserted that a major defense acquisition program, the advanced hawkeye program was audit ready. in july, a review by an independent state public accounting firm of the day that the financial transactions associated with this program were accurate and that reasonable internal controls were in place. they issued an unqualified opinion. we have also received
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unqualified audit opinions on the existence and completeness of the majority of our military equipment. we have assessed our civilian personnel pay and travel processes, identified deficiencies in both processes and internal controls. we have remediated those deficiencies across the business enterprise. documented the process and tested to ensure that changes have been made, and that they're working effectively. we are now awaiting review by an independent state public accounting firm which should begin within the next several weeks. we have examined all of our business processes, and completed at least the one round of testing to identify any deficiencies which preclude audit readiness. we are in the process of making the necessary changes to remediate those deficiencies.
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we are also examining the general application controls in our business systems to determine the systems changes required to meet audit standards. we will complete this fall a thorough assessment of the navy erp. the internal controls using the gao established audit standards. the federal information systems controls audit manual. i am pleased with the significant progress we have made. we have embraced audit readiness as an opportunity to improve our business processes, and to correct long-standing issues that were not priorities in the past. however, achieving audit readiness is not without challenges. first, because our systems and processes were not designed to achieve the standards demanded by a financial audit, changes
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are required to sustain our efforts. it will take time to implement all the necessary changes, but we are identifying and prioritizing those changes, particularly assistance changes in an effort to eliminate intensive manual workarounds. second, we know that our business process and internal controls need to be strengthened and enforced. we have identified the key controls required in each business process. the challenge is to make sure the controls are implemented across the departments, verify their effectiveness, and ensured through testing that they remain in place. third, we execute our resources across many organizations and activities. generating billions of transactions. we relied on thousands of people, inside the department of the navy and outside the department to perform segments
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of our business process. these dependencies require constant nurturing, collaboration, consultation, close coordination and monitoring to make sure we all remain in sync with the requirements for audit readiness. fourth, we operate in a decentralized manner. gathering the evidentiary documentation required to support the millions of financial transactions we execute and heading that documentation readily available for audit review is a substantial effort. while these challenges are significant, we have included in our detailed plan actions to address each of these challenges. in closing, i am encouraged by our forward momentum. the progress we have made, the relationships we have forged with our business process owners and service providers, the
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support they are providing and the experience and knowledge we have gained to date. thus, i am cautiously optimistic we will meet our goal. i will be pleased to answer any questions you might have at the appropriate time. >> thank you. we will go now to ms. thomas. >> thank you, chairman wittman, and the members of this panel. for the opportunity to testify today. first, let me start by confirming the air force continued support. and secretary panetta's goal of achieving audit readiness of the statement of budgetary resources by 2014, and for all financial statements by september 30, 2017. the air force is a fully committed to maintaining the public's trust and our stewardship of taxpayer dollars in developing a culture that values sufficiency and resource storage. air force leaders have consistently emphasized the
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importance of all encompassing air force wide effort which come and secretary panetta puts it, and all hands effort to successfully reach audit readiness by established deadlines. due to the commitment of leadership and to the dedicated professionals across the air force we have made significant progress to date. however, due to the enormous he and complexity of the task before us, we've you reaching the 2014 and 2017 calls as having moderate risk. before going into the challenges of reaching the goals, however, i want to share with this bit of the progress the air force has made toward audit readiness goals. over the last year we have received two independent opinions on previous assertions. in october, an independent public accounting firm issued an unqualified opinion on our fund balance with treasury reconciliation process. a process reconciling over
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1.1 million transactions with an accuracy rate of 99.96%, exceeding the 98% recommended. engine, the dod ig issued an unqualified opinion on our aerial target drones and crew specials, fatty at approximately $86 billion, representing 41 and 14% of air force and beauty mission-critical assets respectively. we also completed to assertions of audit readiness for uninstalled missile motors and spare engines which, together, represent 6395 individual items valued at approximately $11.5 billion. a dod ig examination is underway for this effort and we anticipate a final report in november. additionally, we have submitted our $4 billion space based infrared radar system
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acquisition system too much ahead of schedule and will contract with an auditing firm this month to perform an independent examination and issued an opinion. and process going forward, we have made significant progress on into two and business processes, and i hiring additional and organic resources with financial reporting and auditing expertise to allow us to continue making headway on more assertions and reduce overall schedule risk. last august, for example, we are in an independent public accounting firm unqualified opinion on budget authority distribution to our major command. and are completing corrective actions on distribution so we can assert audit readiness on that early next fall. we have also completed an initial testing and corrective actions on reimbursable budget authority and civilian pay processes which will allow us to
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assert those two areas as audit ready in 2013. later this fall we will kick off a initial assertion testing for military pay and contracts. our preliminary assessments in both areas are very encouraging. despite the progress we've made today, we face many challenges. most significant of which is the need to improve our legacy information systems in order to support the 2014 sbr assertion. with over 160 different systems recordings of tracking and reporting information for financial statements, the challenge is to identify, prioritize and implement cost-effective improvements to support the statement of budgetary resources assertion goal. our enterprise resource system, the defense enterprise accounts management system, which is our next-generation accountant system and is critical to full audit readiness by 2017 has had some development and deployment challenges.
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recently the air force operation test and if i wish and center completed and operational assessment of d.e.a.m.s. and highlighted some concerns with accounting accuracy and consistency, software development and testing, and change management of our workforce. we have corrective actions in place to address these issues, and we're doing some preliminary testing. and i can tell you that what we're hearing is very encouraging on that. in closing, the air force appreciates this panel is commitment and support to the air force audit readiness efforts and we look forward to continuing to work with you and achieving auditable financial statements. again, thank you for holding this hearing and allowing me to testify today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. thank you, panel members said we appreciate your efforts year. i want to welcome mr. cooper and ask if you might have any opening comments? >> now opening comments. >> okay. with that we will begin with our questions, and secretary hill, i
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will begin with you and then ask the other panelist also to give me their perspective. the senate recently passed a bill which includes a number of sanctions. it a full scale clean audit is achieved by september 2017, in 1 sanction requires essentially the moving of jurisdiction from defense, the defense finance and accounting service, to the treasury. i wanted to get your perspective on that, ttp that you avoid that, or if he did get to that point, what's your perspective be on the transfer of that from defense to treasury? >> well, i think that transfer would be a bad idea. i think the goal of senator coburn has and his cosponsors, oversight role for me, as a to provide oversight over defense, will have the opposite effect. it will increase the workload i believe because company, they
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are a day to day accounting for. we need them working for the department of defense. let me step back and comment on the pentagon act just brief and more broadly. we support the goals in that act. to get to audit readiness, you've heard us all say that. and we think we have a system of accountability. we are concerned about a number of sanctions that are in there. you mentioned one. there's several others. i can go into it, that are of concern to us. and it's because there is some uncertainty here, some that will make this, you know, we overpromise and under delivered four years. i want to be honest with you. i'm recently covenant but i can be absent a short. for two broad reasons. one, as we finish our discovery efforts and there may be problems that come up that we didn't anticipate. that will take longer than we think. and, frankly, because of all the uncertainty in the budgetary world that you've heard me mention. if we do through sequestration it will affect the resources and drain away an enormous amount of time. >> excuse me but if you would
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come if you could pull the microphone up a little bit closer. >> is that better? >> think he. >> so bottom line, we support the growth of the audit of the pentagon act. we're concerned about some of the means. >> thank you. i wanted also to get your perspective. the dod ig recently published a report to talk about some the problems with enterprise planning systems, schedule delays, cost overruns. i wanted to get your perspective on what the root causes of those might be, what the plans are to overcome those, to get things back on track but obviously that's a critical element of long-term success, being 2014 and 2017 milestones. spent if i were make a i'd like mrs. mcgrath to answer that. she has the oversight. >> thank you. i think that the ig reports highlights many different areas that are the root causes, if you will, with regard to schedule delays. you've heard some of the come in our opening statements, say some
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of the challenges. i mentioned in my, you know, data conversion, the change management challenge, the training aspects, all of which we absolutely are taking action to ensure that one, we understand very a cutie a what the root cause was, and then the steps we need to take to correct those. so i think that for each program is a slightly different scenario which is driving the schedule change. although those are consistent in particular the data conversion and the change management aspect. what we have really learned with the implementation of these erp solutions is that it can't just be the accounting team with a financial management solution. it must be the entire operation understanding, the role that this capability place within their overall execution. and to be honest with you has been one of the most challengi challenging.
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how do we use these systems and capabilities to execute our business. and it does require a change in, you know, what we do every day. we must move away from, frankly, the years of practices that we have had into the new environment. and there are a lot more controls in the new systems. and so, although nice new modern system sounds a lot easier, and a legacy system, really there are a lot more internal controls and complexities such that you've got referential data, integrity and all those other things that are so very important to achieving auditability at full accounting of the money. >> ms. commons, let me ask, i know i've received some feedback from some contractors that are working with navy about the new accounting systems and some of the elements of the time in his in payments. apparently there's been some delays. i think those delays have been
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addressed, but have not been totally i think reduced to a satisfactory level. could you give me some perspective on the navy's efforts? i know they're putting in place a new electronic system in the transition there are always challenges but i think there's concerned from what i'm hearing about the timeliness. i know previously it was a great amount of attention paid to making sure that payments cut out any kind of way, but apparently with the new system there some problems with this i just want to get you reflection on what you see as the challenge and what the solutions are in the future. >> i am not really aware of any delay in payments within the department of the navy. we will deploy our erp system fully on one october. we will go live on one october. i am not aware of any delay in payment. we are making our payments on
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time, and we are, in fact, moving more toward electronic payments so that we take the hands on out and it becomes a more automated process. >> if you'll take that question for the record. >> i will be happy to look into it for you. >> mr. cooper? >> i think my friend for yielding, and i apologize for being slightly late this morning, but happy to be with you. the chairman asked a question about the legislation and audit the pentagon act, and i appreciate the difference in approach that chairman conaway and chairman of this committee taken on this because we believe that rather than pass the act, the audit the pentagon act we ought to audit the pentagon. introduce all the village wanted the hard work of this is the work that you ladies and
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gentlemen, have done and are doing. we appreciate it. and, frankly, on this committee, nestor conaway's laser beam like focus on this for a number of years is really a proximate cause of the pics i want to get into the progress that we're making and the problems we have found. the first tested with the problem of beginning balance. obviously to get a clean audit letter, you need to have an accurate beginning balance. and this is a problem that you all inherited, did not create. but obviously it would have a history of no audits for centuries, decades, giving a good beginning balance is not good thing. so what steps are being taken to try to deal with this inherited problem of the beginning balance of? >> the problem, i'm going to answer and then ask my colleagues perhaps ms. commons in particular want to add to it. the problem is, lack of billy to document the transaction.
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the way we do financial management in the department of defense, some of these can go back 10 years or more. so you have, for example, five years to obligate money for shipbuilding. another five years to actually expand the dollars. and we just don't have the records, or we can't get them quickly enough is a product the auditors expect a reasonable time so they can produce their opinion in a timely manner. and that caused problems but it caused us to decide that for this year and a marine corps statement of budgetary resources we will focus on current resources. to plan your frankly would be to build a better documentation gradually as we move toward an audit effort. that will cause us to retain the documentation so that a few years from now we will have much ready access to and better documentation, but it will take a while before that is complete. >> let me say, i think you've been in the right direction on
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this but it's very important where the money has been, but it's also important to know where it is. and i think by focusing on the way this question before the where it's been question, i think you made the right judgment. we want to get the right answers to both but you really, you know, this is not an historic review. it's meant to be a useful tool for the present and future. the second question i want to ask was about the problem of software that would give us access to usable data. and that's really the whole erp issue that inspector general looked at as recent as two months ago. and dr. matiella -- and i pronounce your name correctly? i'm sorry. okay. i want to know, what lessons were learned about gfebs assorted pencil been since one july, right? >> it was fully deployed spent but what have we learned, and come in that period of time in full deployment, what's working, what isn't, what lessons should we take from that to try to make
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gfebs a successive? >> well, it's all about change management. it's all about folks changing their practices from what is audible. and one of the ways that you approach change management is to train and train and train. so training becomes very important i think one of the lessons we learned at the very beginning of the gfebs the point is we didn't train enough, and this is what you may have heard, some comments that they needed more training. so we have certainly, that was a big lesson for us is to be very mindful of training, online tools, providing just in time train, all those different speed what extent you think the training provides, provided by defenders of the product is better or worse than the train provided in house? i'm sure there's a mix of the few. what is the quality of the
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training provided by defenders of the product? >> it's very good. the training provided by the vendors is very good. you just continually reinforce it and reinforce it. and so that's what our internal staff comes in is that when we have these super users, those are the folks who are reinforcing that could training that was given. it's just one of those can't it just has to be continuous. >> mr. chairman, i just want to say that i sing person and a close that secretary by ned and mr. hill and his team have worked diligently and tirelessly on this project. i know they're committed to overcome these obstacles and i'm proud of him and commend them for it. >> thank you, mr. anders. we will not go to mr. conaway. >> thank you, mr. chairman to i walk in the ring and a couple of movies at kurt to me. the one is blues brothers, let's get the band back together. than the one that you guys probably think about is groundhog day, which -- [laughter] over and over and over. i appreciate you being here spent less just hope it's not
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the titanic. [laughter] >> exactly. i want to go mr. andrews complements. you have been forward leaning throughout this process, particularly when leon panetta a year and a half ago, a year ago i guess said let's get this done. unprecedented leadership from the top and i have personally seen that percolate down through many levels of the organization and do hope that we do have the momentum going such that what ever leadership changes occur, and there will be some no matter what as you said, that one of things i hope we can get the senate to focus on as well as house members, and that is that new leadership making sure they are as committed to making this work as you and your team have demonstrated over and over and over. don't grow weary of doing good, and this could get worrisome because it is such a daunting task and it has taken so long. ms. commons, i watched the video yesterday, the navy's, kind of a
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publicity pitch to get out of readiness. i hope we get more people to watch it, go viral so we get further out, so good job on that. ms. thomas, one of the thing that i perked up on when you're giving her testimony was you have a challenge. you and air force have a challenge, and have you walk a fine line between continuing to maintain legacy systems in order to get audit ready by 2014, but at the same time a longer pitch to pivot to the permit systems that will be in place year after year after you to be able to audit. can you give us some sense as to how you're going to balance between the apple to get rid -- get ready by 2014 and your reliance on legacy systems, where we don't need long-term, they will not be there for the long-term? >> certainly. thank you. yes, up until april of this year, as you're well aware i'm sure, the air force strategy was
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to be audit ready in 2017, with a full air force wide implementation or deployment of d.e.a.m.s. and when we receive a challenge from secretary panetta to accelerate the statement of budgetary resources, we knew, we weren't going to have d.e.a.m.s. deployed air force wide in order to me that timeline. so we have gone back and we've look at our legacy systems to determine which of those we need to do some remediation on in order to achieve the secretary's goal of audit readiness in 2014. we have found the systems themselves for the most part with some small modifications will support sbr readiness in 2014. where we've really had to do a lot of work and we're continuing to work is on the people and the processes.
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because the controls really in order to repeat the use of a legacy system, the controls light outside the systems themselves. in addition to that there's a lot of interfaces that we have had to closely monitor, document, and implement tighter process controls on. so through a combination of those efforts and training of people, that's another, as we have learned as we've done some dissipation to base, sometimes it's an issue of understanding what it is we're trying to do and obtaining. and we've done a number of things where we pulled fund managers and and conducted training courses, showed them this is a good audit product. this is a deficient one. and they are carrying that information back to the bases and installations and training the trainer. so through a combination of training, process controls, some system remediation of the legacy, in addition we are continuing our forward progress on d.e.a.m.s. because we really need d.e.a.m.s. to achieve full
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audit readiness in 2017 in a way that is sustainable. >> ms. mcgrath, or bob, you put in place about this time last year in the senior executive staff requirement that they be certain criteria for the personal evaluations, as well as some commands but when will those evaluations begin to happen and when we be able to report to us, not on a person-to-person basis, but certainly where folks have exceeded expectations and/or not made progress that was set up for them, and the impact of that success or failure has on their advancement and/or compensation. >> why don't i start and then i'll ask anybody has something to add. we have performance goals in the ses plastic we believe now across department for those members of the senior executive service that are relevant, not every audit involvement.
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i'll say it's not the primary goal if you're a lot gestation and the primary goal is to logistics, but it is a part of the subsidiary goals. and performs evaluation process starting right now, within a few months we will have that. how much will be able to save and all the privacy rules, i'm not sure. >> i don't want -- >> i understand. that we are watching it. we would like to try this as closely as we can do assessments and bonuses so that there's some tangible rewards for success, and some stigma, if that's the right word, or some change in behavior if we're not making success. i think we've got people's attention. i'm a little less confident, beginning to believe they know what they've got to do around the department. so i think it's a major step forward, but i'm humbled by all the changes were going to pull off over the next couple of years. the reason moderate risk on
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either various words appear, like i said, mr. chairman, with over promised and under delivered for a long time but i don't want any part of that. i want to kill as best we can and try to meet these goals. >> i would only, i would just add that the performance big, the reigning. in the end of this month for the year, for the senior executive service, and then the evaluation process starts, and so as mr. hale indicated, it's probably a month and a half or so before that's all finalized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> if i may, 250 of our 303 senior executive leaders have an audit readiness objective in their performance plan. with the cooperation that i am getting, i believe that they are performing and that they will continue to perform. i think we all see the benefit of audit readiness, not just to produce a financial statement,
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but to improve our business processes across the board. so i in getting very good cooperation within the department of the navy, and i think the senior executives, the fact that we have had audit readiness objective in their plan that they're taking it seriously. >> very good. >> thank you, mr. conaway. mr. critz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. mcgrath, i think i misheard and i just want to clarify. you talked about the retirement of legacy systems. did you say 200, or 2000 in 2011? >> i said 124-2011, and approaching 200, for 2012, and about 150 in 2013. >> i must've zoned out at that point. so these legacy systems, i'd like to ask this to the service representatives as well. as part of a move to
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auditability was the implementation of the enterprise resource planning, erp, and i know there's delays in fact i'm also secretary hail mentioned you feel very confident that you're going to need a timeframe that when he calls in the timeframe allotted. so trying to figure out, article and have a mix of systems, and how does that play out going forward? >> i will certainly start and then ask service representatives to add additional detail. i think that's exactly right, there's a mix of i.t. solutions and capabilities that will enable the audit readiness to happen but i believe in both 2014 and 2017. some of the strategies include erp's as the -- the army for example, i's very much erp-based strategy for their entire business environment. and so they're using that as fairly. it is not the same in the
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department of the navy or marine corps, and then i think with the air force we have heard what their schedule delays to date, they are assessing both how they get to 14 and then what 17 looks like. but at the end of the day it's a combination of the entire, you know, business capability, be it the new or i will call the legacy by some of the legacy is to pretty good, i.t. capability. the import shepard is not just assist in peace, it's understanding how you do what you do and execution of the business process and how does the idea enable that to happen. so i t. s. is extreme import but if you don't know how you do what you do, the press of peace, the i.t. is not nearly as important now is a relevant. so begin at that process peace and the data flow is extremely important and all the military departments are focused on that.
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>> with your analysis be that most of the legacy systems were populated through the different branches? or was it more focused at the pentagon and in the overall management of its? >> definitely the former, and it wasn't even necessarily at the military department head of the department level. it was very much a bottoms up, make a local need. i had a function i needed to perform at my base installation, and i did what i needed to do to execute my piece. i think the difference day, and i've seen in the last few years is that we really are taking an enterprise perspective and sort of lifting up if you will and looking across the organization medal at the military department level but also at the dod enterprises a what do i have and how is it helping or not? and really achieve the business outcomes that we want. today we are talking about audit readiness. >> secretary hale, moving on, i had a question earlier and i
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understand that coming in, obviously we need to drive this auditability so that it will help us plan and help us work with you, future planning. but i also have a concern, as we strive for these reports, the separation of items that have to remain at the secret and top secret level. and how these reports will impact, sort of the crossing, crossbones asian i guess you could say, or will we have to be that much more cautious or cautious, excuse me, when it comes to making sure that the data can't be mind to determine some of that secret information? >> this is a man bites dog problem. rickenbacker systems, better visibility of our day, but that's a problem. and we're actively looking at, be careful what i say here, but we are very conscious of this problem and are actively looking
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for ways to solve it. a meaning that we have to have separate systems that are classified. although that will proliferate systems to some extent, there may be other approaches. i'm being a little vague. >> it's a concern because the more data available -- >> it is an issue and when we are addressing. >> think you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. critz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here today and thank you for your service to our country. and i think i'll start with mr. hale. it would seem to me that every branch of service is allowed to do its own contracting in terms of computer system and it seems to me that with all these different systems. i understand you're trying to consolidate now, but are we moving to a single system or comes to financial management?
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>> if you mean a single system throughout the department of defense, the answer is no mac. the department of different business practices, i believe it would be a bridge too far to try to get them on once in the system and it would frighten me a bit because it would be so large in size itself sometimes a problem in terms of implementation. we are trying to move too many to systems that probably won't be one per department. there will be, throughout the financial management. but as ms. mcgrath said we're trying to retire a lot of these legacy systems and greatly reduce the numbers. >> i would add to what mr. hale said. we are taking a standards-based approach, so you've heard i believe mentioned -- instead amended casino solution, i.t. solution we are mandating the implementation of standards. and each one of the solutions do at the individual and aggregate the data, and so it's both a
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standards process base and then the implementation of standards. >> where are we in the process against the? with regard to the standard financial information structure, which is the main financial standard, all of the erp's, the ones the military department, actually all of them have implemented call it the structure and we did validation for each of the erp's on their application. i believe dr. matiella mentioned 90 some% in terms of compliance. each one of these is i was a compliant with the standards. and it's not on the financial system because the logistics and other systems -- we really are doing a full audit of all of the erp solutions in there at the notation of the standard the complete this in the last couple of months. >> are we aware of come in terms
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of looking at major commands, as mention that some of them are auditable and probably the majority of them are not. is there a list at dod of those major commands or programs that are auditable sequence yes. it's not commands. we have a couple of agencies that are auditable. finance and accounting service. all have auditable statements. the defense information service agency has achieved partially auditable. within the services its pieces so far that are auditable. one that is furthest along is the marine corps, not auditable yet but we hope that, close. but as you heard all of my colleagues say, the strategy we've taken is to try to bite off pieces of this and did independent public accounts,
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auditors involved because we learned so much from the. they know how to do it. we don't. so as we bring to an end, we often learned a great deal. we certainly learned a lot from the marine corps anything we have from the of the audits that been done. do you want to add to that? >> i would like to add that the corps of engineers has been auditable for a few years now. we are using their audit approach and the audit to guide us. so there -- they are a huge success. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. andrews? >> thank you, mr. chairman, for giving us a little for the opportunity to explore this. i also want to ask about the personnel training in a bit more detail. one thing that i work together has really taught us is that we can have really well thought out software systems and we can clean up some of the other problems, but if the people are not properly trained to use the system, it doesn't work.
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what would each of you identify as our principal problem right now in the personnel training area? what's our biggest efficiency or flaw? and what you think we need to do to fix it? will be the number one problem you would point to? >> i will start, and then again this is an organized -- i would ask my colleagues for those who want to, to comment. we don't right now have a framework in the defense community that allows us to require training across the board. we have a lot of courses, and i think our training is generally pretty good, but it's not come as i say there's not a framework. and one of the things we can't do easily is ensure that everybody gets appropriate training, appropriate to the needs but everybody doesn't need to be a cpa. they can't and never will be and shouldn't be. but everybody proper should have some familiarity with the importance of this in their general. >> is that a collective bargaining issue or why can't we
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-- >> we started this core space certification program. we're really copying essentially what the acquisition community did a number of years ago. you gave us legal authority to do it a couple years back. we are actually just beginning private programs now. it will establish a framework. we will set levels for each position and dependent on availability to complete certain courses and other requirements in order to be certified at that level. and one of the things we will do is create a course that we hope essential to everyone comes in, our committee will be required to take a and part of that will have an audit module so that will move toward everybody understand why this is important in the general requirements of audit which for many people will be all they need to know. and then there will be more advanced requirements for varying groups. so we've done some special training for the financial improvement and audit readiness.
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we hired a contractor that is than training that is focused on audit. let me ask, would you like to start? >> sure, thank you. well, one specific example i can provide in an area that we have learned a considerable amount he recently is with the implementations of d.e.a.m.s. took one of the things that they operational assessment pointed out was that we had some issues with change management, particularly any area of training. and as we peel the onion back to find out what the core issue was, we talked to the works with. that was using the system. and the key thing that provided feedback on was he taught us how to use the software. utah's about the software. you didn't teach us how to do our job with the new system. and so in response we've done is we develop training manuals for
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each of their respective jobs, each of the desks, and have a training manual on their desk. additionally, our plan going forward is we are asked going forward deploy people who have implemented a system before on location to help the people when they receive the new software, learn how to use it along with those training manuals. so i think sometimes our challenge is we're introducing something new, and we think because we've been in the developing process of that and the oversight process that the people who receive it are going to understand it the way we do. >> is this a cultural change that many of you mention in your judgment, part of it, right? >> yes, sir. exactly. >> any other takers? >> i would like to comment. we've done several things to make sure that our workforce, that they are trained in audit readiness and certainly i'd like to thank the team who came over and actually did several
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training sessions for our nonfinancial managers to train them on what it meant to be audit ready. >> it doesn't strike me that one hurdle to get overcome it's not just the financial and accounting people have to be audit ready. it's all operational people. they don't understand why they're collecting these documents. it doesn't work. >> absolutely. >> is not a financial practice. >> absolutely. and we have what we call regular office hours were we have people who can call them and we can have discussions about the things that we need to do in audit readiness. and i'd like to say we have some very enterprising, energetic people who were working for us. what we found is that they like to establish ways that they can get the job done quicker. however, they do not realize the impact that it is having on the
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overall organization when they invent their own methodology and practices. so what we have done is we have a major effort to standardize our processes, and to publish those standards, so that everyone knows what they need to do in their part of the process. it has been very beneficial. we've got lots and lots of discussions, so it is not something that is new to them. it is not something that we are pushing to them. they have been engaged in the process throughout. so they themselves had a part in determining what the standard process would be. >> they get very much, and thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. anders. mr. conaway. >> just one follow-up.
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we've got to configure constituents and others a sense of how far we've come for us how far you have to go. and i don't know if you want to put on a percentage basis or what, bob, and each of the folks in with respect to the spr. we could go global and so 2070 but that's meaningless at this point. with respect to the budget being audit ready, can you give the committee and our constituents a sense, and maybe percentages that -- anywhere, we can't have something to take away from this morning that says we are halfway there, we're two-thirds of their, something that we can, short, 30 seconds talk to folks who just want the answer. they don't want, you know, how to build a watch. they just want to know what time it is. backlog doesn't work out there by work. >> i will regret this but i think we are at midfield but also think we just got robert krenz is the third and he's looking good and that we have some momentum on our side. we didn't practice this answer. invite my colleagues, crudely
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halfway there by with it all and we're on offense would be the analogy i would offer you. >> ghana get each of you, this comment, what you think think for the navy? >> well, in terms of dollar value, and i would use that as a major, i think we're probably about 30% there. relative to the dollar values. our big areas of contract vendor pay and military personnel pay, we are still working, those are big areas force. i think we are about 30% there. but i am encouraged by the momentum that i'm seeing in the department of the navy. we are working those issues constantly to make sure. i and fully optimistic by the end of 13 that the navy will be audit ready for it statement of
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budgetary resources. >> all right. >> to get audit ready we chunky. we are going to rebound to the first exam we've already finished it. now we have to qualify opinion on the first exam. the second exam is underway. and in then the third exam starts next year. so i believe that, again, same thing, in terms of getting us readready to be auditable, i did want to say as far as implement our erp, we are 80% there. 80% of our current funds are in our new system. the only part that is not in the new system, to a large extent, is activities. and that's why we are waiting for the authorization to be able to start working on the specific activities version. but we are almost there in terms of fully deployed, but we are making a lot of progress in terms of looking at ourselves.
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>> ms. thomas? >> the air force statement of budgetary resources, in our approach, is divided into about, well, 15 units. of that we have completed audit assertion on five, but we have several others that are in progress. one which is very close. we expect to assert this fall. so i think midfield is, is probably a pretty fair assessment of where we are. >> all right. anything else on that? again, i just want -- >> one more thing. to defense agencies, they are almost 20% of our budget. frankly, we haven't paid as much attention to them as we should have. a few of them have auditable statements already. but under the guidance of my deputy chief financial officer, who i might add has done many helpful things, a great deal of attention to this, we are now kind of acting as their
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bellybutton come if you will, to try to get all of them to move toward audit readiness. many of them are a lot smaller, they are all smaller than the services for sure, and so had easier problems but there are lots of them. and so, i think we're making progress there. we may not quite begin midfield with him, but we are getting there. >> you'll have to flee -- explain to me about being to bellybutton. i'm not sure what that means. the hundreds and hundreds of people sitting behind you throughout this whole system that is having to do heavy lifting every single day to make this happen, our heartfelt thanks for not only what they've done at this point but all this hard work and get to get ahead to get to that red zone and then score by getting this thing done. i, for one, how hard this is, difficult it is, what does copious. it's stunning when she began to look at it, and so at least for me, thank you so much what you've done already, and looking forward to the success of getting this thing done.
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thank you very much. >> i would like to associate myself with mr. conaway's remarks, and say the same thing but i do want to raise one objection on the record. the washington redskins reference, i found offensive. [laughter] >> i stand by my remarks. >> as a devoted philadelphia eagles fan, i just want to let the record show my objection to that reference. >> well, i was expecting the gentleman from texas to make to object to that, too. but anyway -- >> i do have a dog in that fight. >> are there any other questions from panel members before we conclude? hearing none, i do have to, to specific question, secretary hale, i'd like for you to be able to address forest but you don't have to do it here. if you can do it for the record. one is that you can just let me know this, and then provide this to the committee, if this is where things are going to vig devaluation and, or the challenges pointed out there, is
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there a plan to have a formal response to the ig finds, not to go back? and if so, it would be nice for the committee to have it so we can get that to our members. and secondly, as you go through this process, and put all of our from each of the branches, and yourself, of the many challenges that are out there and what we would like from each of you are any suggestions that might be appropriate in the authorization language next year that would help you in achieving the path that you were on to meet your 20 '14 and 20 '17 milestones. so we would like to have specifics there, and then again, with the response to the ig report for us to get a copy of that spirit we would do it. >> thank you, mr. hill. if there's nothing else to come before the hearing, we will adjourn. [inaudible conversations]
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>> do you know what? the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
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eternal lord god, we praise you for surrounding us with the shield of your salvation. when we cry to you for help, you are always near, ever ready to comfort and cheer. when we remember what you have already done to bless our nation and our lives, we can only declare, "great is your faithfulness." as our senators strive today to do your will, remind them that your love has no limits, your hope has no restrictions, and your power has no end.
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guide them as they seek to discern what is best for our nation and courageously vote their convictions. we pray in your wonderful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, september 19, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten e. gillibrand, a senator from the
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state of new york, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 499, s. 3521, which is the tax extenders legislation reported out of the finance committee previously. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 4, s. 3521, a bill amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions. mr. reid: madam president, following my remarks and those of my distinguished friend be, the republican leader, the senate will resume consideration of s. 3457, the veterans jobs corps act. the time until noon will be equally divided on that matter. at noon there will be a roll call vote on the motion to waive ththe budget act with respect to the veterans jobs bill. the senate will then recess until 2:15 for the weekly caucus meetings. at 2:15, there will be a vote.
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there could be additional votes this afternoon or subsequent to the vote at noon. the republican leader and i have had a conversation this morning where we've discussed the rest of the week and next week perhaps and we're trying to move forward and get this done. we have certain things we have to get done but there's nothing, nothing, more important, madam president, than getting the funding for the country. i appreciate the house sending it to us in the fashion they did. and so i think it's -- it behooves us to get this thing don'done as quickly as possible. h.r. 2949 is at desk and you don't for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: an act to med a the fisa amendments act of 200 for five years. mr. reid: i would object to any further proceedings, madam
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president. officer objection is heard. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: for months i believe mitt romney wants to be president of all the united states. this week we learned mitt romney only wants to be president of half the united states. if mitt romney were president, he wouldn't waste time worrying about the 47% of americans who he believes are victims, who romney believes are unwilling to take personal responsibility, and those are his words, madam president, not mine. he'll only worry about how the other half lives, i guess. that's what mitt romney told a group of wealthy donors at a closed-door fund-raiser in florida a month or so ago. but it turns out it wasn't closed. someone video taped every word he said to his wealthy donors. but this is, among other things, what he said. this is a quote. "there are 47% who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who
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believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it." end of quote. mitt romney said, his job as president would not be to -- quote -- "worry about those people." end of quote. but half of americans are those people. he went ton say, "i'll never convince them "kings -- this is a direct quote. "i recall a never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." understand of quote. madam president, who are those americans mitt romney disdeigns as victims and "those people?" they are a not avoiding their tax bills using cayman islands tax shelters or swiss bank accounts, like mitt romney. millions of the 4 47% are senios on social security who don't
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have bain stock or dividends to fall back on. many are hoping to become nurses or teachers or are attending a community college. some of the 47% have disabilities whose challenges are already a full-time job, but still are actively seeking opportunities in their lives. millions more of this 47% have been unemployed since the great depression, not because they're freeloaders or can't be bothered to get a job but because some private equity funds closed their factory, shipped their jobs off to china. large numbers of the 47% are active duty members of the military fighting for their country overseas. more of the 47% are veterans getting an education earned through dedicated service. many of the 47% are mothers and fathers working minimum-wage jobs, but still struggling,
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struggling every day. others of the 47% are middle-class families raising children. with a little help from the earned-income tax credit and the child tax credit, a handout republicans once bragged about helping to enact. and by the way, signed into law by that liberal ronald reagan. the 47% are ordinary, hardworking americans who disearvdeserve respect, especiam a man who wants to be their president. and these americans pay a slew of other taxes: state income tax, payroll taxes, property tax, sales tax, but in mitt romney's view, they still don't pay enough. so let's ask a question: whose taxes would mitt romney raise? would mitt romney raise taxes on retirees who paid into social security all their lives and are counting ton to get them through their golden years? that's a question. another question: would mitt romney raise taxes on
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mothers and fathers who work hard but still struggle to put food in their children's mouths? ronald reagan thought there were certain people who maybe need add little help and shouldn't do that. i agree with ronald reagan. would romney raise taxes on middle-class families stretching to afford diapers and day care at the same time? would romney raise taxes on americans with disability striving to live full and productive lives? would romney raise taxes on students stretching every dollar to afford tuition? would romney raise taxes on men and women serving overseas in the military who make untold sacrifices, deserve american freedom and -- to preserve american freedom and democracy, not because they're getting rich but out of a deep sense of duty? so whose taxes would mitt romney raise? we know he wouldn't raise taxes for millionaires or billionaires or companies that ship jobs overseas. he's made that very clear. if you are a math teacher or a maid or a single mother, it won't be mitt rom nigh's jobs to worry about you.
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if you are a mult imillionaire, mitt romney won't rest until you get a quarter million dollar tax cut. that's what the ryan budget does. for all we know, mitt romney could be one of those who has paid no federal income tax. thousands of families make more than $1 million and paying in in federal income taxes each year. thousands of families make more than a million dollars a year paying in in federal income taxes. is mitt romney among those? we'll never know since he refuses to release his tax returns for the years before he was running for president. but from that one return -- the only one we've seen -- we know mitt romney pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families, thanks to a number of things he's done -- swiss bank accounts, cayman islands tax shl terse -- and we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the american people a dozen years of tax returns, like his dad did. mitt romney believes in two sets
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of rules; one for millionaires and another for the middle class and the poor. if you have money to hide in bermuda and switzerland, can'ted to to pay a few pennies more to balance the budget? mitt romney says "no." but if you are retired, poor, disabled, student, or even returning hero who fought for their country, romney believes you can afford to pay more taxes. this rare look at the real mitt romney dhrb rare look that we grot a man who was at a fund-raiser for him -- proves one thing: he is completely out of touch with average americans. and if he won't stand up and fight for every american as president, then he doesn't deserve to serve any american as president. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: later today congress will award the congressional gold medal to daw aung san suu kyi, a remarkably courageous woman whose cause i've taken a particular interest
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in over the years. suu kyi's story is so powerful it's almost hard to believe it's all true. her faith, aung san was assassinated when she was just a toddler. she lived in india for a time, worked at the u.n. here in the u.s. and eventually married and settled into a comfortable lifer with her professor husband and two boyce in oxford in england. that quiet, yo suburban life changed for every one night in the spring of 1988. she got a phone call that her mother had fallen ill back in burma. she left to take care of her the following day and arrived to find a revolution already under way. as her father's daughter,
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suu kyi was regarded as a natural fit to fill the role. years earlier suu kyi had had a premonition that her people might need her one day. so much so that when her husband proposed marriage, she agreed but on one condition: that if her people ever needed her, she could go. he agreed without hesstration. hess he agreed without hesitation. and more than two decades later, he made good on his pledge. with suu kyi under house arrest in burma, her husband fell ill with cancer back in england. she knew she woulding h. be allowed to leave, but she also knew she wouldn't be allowed to return to burma once she did. so with her husband's support, suu kyi made the difficult decision to stay.
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and for nearly two decades -- two decades -- she remained under house arrest in her mother's old home on university avenue on the shores of enya lake. over the years i followed suu kyi closely and i've done what i could to advance her cause. along with senator feinstein i have worked to get the burmese freedom and democracy act enacted every year since 2003 s way of pressuring the regime to reform itself. my colleague, senator mccain, has been active in this issue and has an opportunity to visit with her several times. if not for the quiet determination and simple confidence of this remarkable woman, democratic reforms might have seemed a lost cause under the burmese junta. but in november 2010, we were all encouraged when suu kyi was
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finally released from house arrest. and since then we've seen other hopeful signs. i was allowed the privilege of actually paveling to burma -- the privilege of traveling to burma earlier this year and discuss some of the reforms we've seen. on april 1, suu kyi won a seat in the burmese parliament. now, we can't be sure the progress we've seen in burma will last, but we're cautiously optimistic. and it's a great privilege to be able to honor this woman who has done so much for the burmese people and for the cause of democratic reform and human rights around the world. i'm also honored that suu kyi has graciously agreed speak about her incredible journey and the cause of democratic reform and human rights at the university of louisville next monday. i know the students and the larger community there are all really looking forward to her
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visit. but for now, this is a truly special day here at the capitol. it's been a long time coming. we're honored to have this hero with us today, and delighted to award her our nation's highest civilian honor. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. the senate will resume consideration of s. 3457 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 476, s. 3457 with a bill to require the secretary of veterans' affairs various to establish a veterans jobs corps and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 12:00 noon will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: bill daily is a businessman in chicago and a friend of mine.
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and a few years back he was the chairman -- madam president, bill daly is a businessman in chicago and a few years back he was the chairman of the al gore presidential campaign. we all know how the campaign ended in a florida recount. biwas contacted several years later by those who wanted to run for president. they made their trip to chicago and asked bill if he could give them some insight into what it was all about, how you'd win. and bill said to them one and all, the same thing. i'm not sure i have any special strategy to tell you but there's one thing i've discovered over the years. by the end of theth president yam campaign the american people will know who you really are. i thought that was very simply and and directly stated. by bill daily and reflected the fact that although every candidate at every level tries to surround himself or herself
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with the wisest people in kristendom to give advice on polling and media and analyzing the electorate and the right words to be said, that more so in the presidential campaign than almost any other, by the end of the campaign the american people know who you really are. the revelations into a person's values and character are not those well scripted ads or even those flowery speeches. the revelations come from observing that person in good times and bad and perhaps hearing the unguarded comments which give you an insight into what they think when the camera's not on. that is why this release of a video of mitt romney has had such an impact on america. what he said at a fundraiser in boca raton, florida, to some very wealthy supporters on may
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17, 2012, bears repeating in specific detail. here's what he said. there were 47% of the people who will vote for the president nothd no matter what. all right, there are 47% who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. that's an entitlement, and the government should give it to them and they will vote for this president no matter what. these are people who pay no income tax. my job -- this is mitt romney speaking -- is not to worry about those people. i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," -- end of quote." it was a moment of candor by romney in a roomful of friends about his view of america and it has become a centerpiece of this
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week's debate in the presidential campaign. not just because he was caught in an off moment or with an embarrassing statement but the fact that since then he's not retracted, he's not backed off of those statements. his first press conference when confronted, he said he was -- quote -- "inelegant in the way he spoke." well, aconsuming -- assuming that he meant inelegant and not lacking eloquence, i would say he has had enough time to develop an elegant reply and we haven't heard it. i think there is more truth than not in what he says when he comes to his point of view of this country. and it's no surprise when you look back to those other unguarded moments and things he said during the course of the campaign. we remember the highlights. corporations are people, my friend, he said. i like being able to fire people, he said. i'm not concerned about the very poor, romney said.
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i'm also unemployed, romney said. and drives a couple cadillacs, romney said. 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet, he said. i have some great friends that are nascar team owners, he said. i was bill kristol who wrote recently, i believe it was yesterday in "the standard" a response in which he was critical both of president obama but also of governor romney. here's what he said, bill kristol, one of the preeminent conservative spokesmen in america. in response to romney's revelation at the boca raton fundraiser. kristol wrote it's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47% who don't pay income tax are romney supporters, especially seniors who might
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believe they're entitled to health care, a position romney agrees with as well as lower-income americans including men and women serving in the military who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the romney plan. so romney seems to have contempt not just for democrats who oppose him but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him" -- end of quote from bill kristol. this was a revelation into his values and his view of america. but it also tells us that he doesn't understand this country and the people who live in it. because when we take a close look at those in the 47%, here is whom -- who we find. the elderly, working families with children and low wage earners. that's the 47%. the elderly, one in five of the elderly are in the 47%. these americans don't owe any
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federal income tax because of a long-standing policy choice that modest social security benefits should not be taxed. does romney oppose that? does he wants want to tax social security benefits so these will be responsible, nonvictims in his view of america? now let's turn to loic working families with children. they make up approximately one out of six people in the 47%. they benefit from the earned nangs credit. it was an incentive for them to go to work realizing they don't make that much money working we give them a break in the tax code to help them get by. as the majority leader intention mentioned earlier this notion came out under president ronald reagan. ronald reagan said this will -- quote -- "remove six million poor people from the income tax rolls making it one of the most
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effective antipoverty programs in our history" -- end of quote. these so-called victims and irresponsible under romney's analysis, is he suggesting the earned income tax credit has to go? when you take a look at these people who make up the 47% in america, you understand that many of them have paid their dues, veterans on disability may not be paying income taxes, they're part of the 47%. people who are middle-income families whose kids borrow honey, are turning to the government for help when they want to put their kids through school. i'll close because i know my colleagues are coming to the floor here a that there is one thing that leapt off the page when i read this quote from boaka ca ra tone. it appears romney makes his judgments based on income tax returns. historically american voters have made a judgment of
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candidates based on income tax returns. the man who set the gold standard followed for decades in america in presidential races was mitt romney's father, george romney, former governor of michigan. he disclosed 1 years of income tax returns and he said don't give me one year. that doesn't tell me anything. one year might look good. give me 12 years and i can decide whether this person is paying taxes as they should and make a value judgment accordingly. well, the son didn't learn from the father. over the past 36 years, willard mitt romney holds the distinction of all presidential candidates of either political party of having made the least disclosure of income tax returns of any presidential candidate. one year. promises another but one year. what did this one year reveal? it revealed he'll be the first
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presidential candidate in the history of the united states of america with a swiss bank account. i've asked business leaders across america, why would you have a swiss bank account? i asked warren buffett. he's one of the wealthiest men in our country. have you ever had a swiss bank account? he said no, there are perfectly good banks in the united states. then i asked business leaders seriously:, why would you have a swiss bank account? two reasons. you want to conceal what you have and the transactions that led up to your acquiring it, or secondly you believe the swiss franc is a stronger currency than the u.s. dollar. i might adds that mitt romney created a swiss bank account under george w. bush's administration. secondly, the offshore tax shelters in the cayman islands and bermuda. why do have you those? to avoid tax liability in the united states. i don't know what's in mitt romney's income tax returns. there must be something in there
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he doesn't want america to see because he is defying all of the calls to go public with the income tax returns. or income tax -- are income tax returns important? in boca raton, he judged 47% of the american people based on their income tax returns. we should judge mitt romney based on his income tax returns or his refusal to disclose them. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, i know my colleague, the democratic assistant leader, is here and i'll make a budget point of order now so -- because i understand he would be objecting. madam president, the pending amendment number 2789 offered by the senator from washington would cause the underlying legislation to exceed the authorizing committee section 302-a allocation of the new
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budget authority and outlays. therefore, it violates the budget and i raise a point of order against this measure pursuant to section 302-f of the congressional budget act of 1974. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: pursuant to section 904 of the congressional budget act of 1984,ty move to waive that section of the act and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there aappears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. sessions: thank you, madam president. by say to my colleague i appreciate his eloquence and his advocacy and we've -- he gave us a real partisan speech this morning. i would just ask a few things of our leader, one of our leaders in the senate, senator durbin, what about the responsibility of this body to pass a budget?
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we haven't had one in over 1,200 days. what about the responsibility of this body to move appropriations bills? not one single appropriation bill has been advanced and while we worked on -- working on legislation that could help veterans find jobs, it will cost about $200 million a year, why is this -- has this body not brought up the defense appropriations bill that funds the defense department at over $500 billion? we've not even brought it up for a vote even though the house has passed one? why have we not brought up the defense authorization bill that passed the committee, armed services committee, unanimously? i'm a member of it. it's been sitting here for months, not been brought up. why? because we have a debate, actually have some votes around here. so that's a problem i think we've got in this senate and i believe it's a serious matter.
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i see my colleague. maybe he'd like to respond. but i was going to make some comments about the the bill before us. mr. durbin: thank you very much. i'll be brief. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i thank the senator from alabama, my friend for yielding the floor. he asked an important request. why hasn't congress passed a budget resolution in a number of years? but he knows the answer. we did better than that. we enacted a resolution a law. a statute. a resolution binds us internally. a law signed by at the present time. it was caught the budget control act. and the interesting thing about budget control act, it was written by democrats and republicans, it charts the course of spending for two years, including the one year appropriating -- appropriatingin now and it was voted on by democrat and republican leaders alike.
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it has the force of law, more power than any budget resolution. so clearly, saying that we didn't pass a budget resolution on its face is true but to say that we're not bound by rules when it comes to spending is too ignore the obvious. a budget control act voted by the leaders on both sides of the aisle. the second question he asked is, are we ignoring that spending restriction when it comes to these veterans' programs and why should we? well, first, the bill that's before us -- this veterans jobs corps act -- is paid for. it does not add a penny to the deficit. the question is on the adoption of the is why do you need it anyway? do you notice the veterans coming home? have you noticed the high u unemployment rate? have you noticed the problems they bring home, visible and invisible scars from the war? do we have an obligation to spend this money? of course.
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didn't we promise these men and women who yo we will stand withu when you come home, we'll give you the medical care that you need, we promised it, we're going to keep the promise. now comes the budget act, and now a technicality is being argued that maybe we can't keep the promise. i am going to vote to wave the budget act because i stood on this floor with democrats and republicans alike, joined in the speeches, joined in the parades, joined in the flag waving, some saying how much we respect these veterans. but when this comes to spending the money that we promised them so that they could obama a vital part of americaes -- so that they could become a vital part of mechanic's future, i will make sure that that money is there, so that they have the help they need for the lives we promised them i yield the floor. mr. sessions: madam president, i thank my eloquent colleague. but we don't have a budget. the law requires us to have a
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budget, passed decade african-american the senate democratic leader of which he is a part -- passed decades ago. the senate democratic leader of which he is a part, said we aren't going to have a budget. we've run up more debt than any time in the history of this republic. there was an agreement to limit spending. it is not a budget. it sets the limit on spending. only on discretionary spending, not on the 60% of the government otherwise that we spend money on. inadequate and insufficient. and before the ink is dry on it, we're back in here with a democratic majority advocating legislation that violates that cap. there's no dispute about it. this is the eighth time we've raised budget points of order for violation of the agreement.
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the cap on spending limits. so here we go again. public opinion of congress is lower today than at almost any time in history according to the most recent gallup poll. only 13% of the public approves of congress's action. americans do not trust us. and why should americans trust us? when we keep using gimmicks and budget sleights of hand to hide more spending and drive this country further into debt, when we make promises, when we pass a law, a budget control act, that limits spending that is promptly violated within months of passage. and it will be attempted again today to violate it again today. why should 0 the american people
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respect an institution such as this one that cannot adhere to a sound financial course for america? on august 28 our country's gross debt reached $16 trillion. $16 trillion. over 100% -- more than the entire gross domestic product of this nation, a danger zone according to every expert who's testified. according to the office of management and budget's latest midsession review of our financial condition, our nation's debt will increase $4.4 trillion more over the next four years. rising to $20 trillion. and in that period of time we will virtually have doubled the entire debt of the united states, since the democrats had the majority here and president obama was elected. double the entire debt i and the
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course we remain on does not get better. this is their budget numbers. this is the course that america is on, and we're not getting off of. it is $1 trillion a year in deficits. the u.s. debt per household is now $137,000 per household, up $80,000 since just 2002. and while americans tighten their budgets to make ends meet in the family, congress has not passed a budget in 1,239 days. erskine bowles, president obama asked him to chair the debt commission, noted recently -- i saw him on television just a few moments ago at a conference -- he said, when you consider social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, entitlement programs and interest on the debt, that's what the tax revenue pays for,
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everything above that is funded by borrowed money. that's what he said. is he correct? absolutely. we're now borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, and it's not sustainable. mr. bowles at that conference repeat what had he said before the budget committee, where i'm ranking member. mr. bowles said that this nation has never been on a more predictable -- we're headed -- we've never had a more -- never been on a more predictable financial crisis path. that's what he said. if we continue at this rate, we're going to have a financial crisis, like 2007. hopefully not, if we can avoid it. but if we don't change what we're doing, we're going to have one. he's absolutely confident about it. he has repeated it.
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and so has mr. beer thank ceevment he said these numbers are not going to continue. if you don't change, we'll have a crisis before we get there. so at the debt debate last summer -- most americans remember that, and congress should certainly remember it -- we finally reached an agreement in a now is being violated. so at the -- we passed the budget control act last august at the last minute, if you remember, to set strict spending limits over the next ten years and to create a supercommittee to solve all our proficiency we hoped, or if the committee failed -- which it did -- to enact a $1.2 trillion at least in cuts through sequestration. that's -- we raised the debt
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ceiling $2 boy i.1 trillion. the debt ceiling gets reached now. we've almost added another $2.1 trillion since last august. we're getting close to the debt limit again. but the cuts were going to be over ten years -- promise. spenwe'll spend now, but we proe you we've got a map, we've got a control act that will give us on the right track over the next ten years. so the question is are we spending at this limit? will we stay there? secondly, let me note parenthetically, that the $2.1 trillion is not enough in dried spending projections. we're talking about reducing projected spending rate, the increase, not cutting spending $2.1 trillion. we're talking about cutting the projected increase in spending. so at the current rate of spending, $3.7 trillion, $ 3.8
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trillion this year, you carry that out for ten years, that would be $38 trillion. over the projections, we're to spend almost $10 trillion more. all this bill would do is say we're going to spend $45 trillion rather than $47 trillion. but our spending would increase from $37 trillion to $45 trillion. can the republic not sustain that? is that going to throw us into the ocean? will we collapse as a nation? will children starve and people not get their social security? of course not. we'll still be spending more money. that's all the budget agreement called for, and we're already waffling on that commitment that occurred last summer. and -- so here we are and while our colleagues have offered
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well-meaning legislation and something that we should work on to try to deal with the unfortunate increase in unemployment for our veterans, if wand we can help them, i truy believe, they have refused to go on the promises made last summer. flatly refused. so i'm worried about unemployment. i'm worried about it especially among veterans, and there are things we can do. in an effort to find common ground, senator burr of north carolina, representin representg offered the careers for veterans act which would help our veterans find jobs while keeping the federal budget under control and honoring the commitment we made last summer. it can be done. this is not hard to do, if you want to do t since the senate majority will not even allow a vote on any bill that abides by
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the budget, senator reid is obstructing the right of members to offer amendments to the bill. i plan to raise a budget point of order against senator murray's substitute amendment. sustaining this point of order will allow us to keep the promises made in the budget control act that senator durbin talked about so proudly, just stay within those promises. it will -- and it will allow us to continue to work on this bill in a way to help our veterans without adding more to our children's debt. it does not give the legislation. it simply tells the sponsors we're not going to do this until you get it within the budget limits we agreed to. and it can be dofnlt senator burr's bill does it. certainly it can be done. so the senate majority had the opportunity to write legislation complying with the spending limits set in the budget control
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act. instead, they bypassed the committee process. we've not had any committee hearings on this legislation, and they've offered a substitute amendment that violates the congressional budget act by increasing mandatory spending $700 million over the veteran arareaffairs committee's 302(a)e caismghts the committee is given so much money to pend for veterans and this would violate that. specifically, the murray amendment violates 302(f) of the budget act by spending $61 million above the committee's allocation for 2013 and $480 million above the committee al allocation for 2013-2017. it would also spend $666 million
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above the committee ahoe -- allocation for 2013-2022. surely, out of a budget that spends $47 trillion over ten years, we can find $700 million in savings to pay for this bill. that is all that needs to be done to ensure the bill complies with the budget act. as a result of exceeding the veterans' affairs committee allocation, the murray substitute amendment violates section 302(f) of the congressional budget act. that has been discussed with chairman conremarks the democratic chairman of the budget committee. he acknowledges that it does and so does his staff, and i'm very confident that when the bucket -- when the parliamentarian agrees and will rule that it rightviolates the budget and noe senate majority plans to have a
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vote to waive -- to waive the promise they made to the american people to control spending, just over a year ago. so that's the issue before us today. do we take the bill, do we fix it so it complies with the budget, which can easily be done. senator burr's substitute does it. or will we once again waive the promises we made last suggest. august. and so proudly touted we were going to cut $2.1 trillion in spending. not only does the murray amendment violate the budget act, but it also uses budget gimmicks extraordinarily, really, to make the bill appear to be offset. the budget's sleight of hand is called a timing shift. what about this offset? paid for idea.
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let me discuss that a moment. so in effect there is a tax increase, argued and with some validity it's a tax enforcement to stop abuses by people who don't fully pay their taxes. and that this will raise revenue, and therefore the bill is paid for, it's offset, and we shouldn't worry about it. we got a new idea for a new help for veterans, we raise taxes and revenue, and we pay for it. but this is what you call tax and spend. tax and spend. we agreed to a limit on what we would spend and if we have discovered a method to collect more taxes or raise taxes to get more revenue, that money under our budget agreement last summer was to be used to pay down the
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debt, not to take more money to spend on a -- an issue today. because we have money within our budget limits to spend on this program, if we chose to do so. so that's a fundamental thing. just because it's paid for does not mean it's spent -- it's -- we're not spending more than we agreed to spend. we precisely are. so let's look at this timing shift. this is one of the things that if the american people fully understood it, would be outraged with us. as a matter of fact, it's probably part of why they're not happy with us now because they've seen so much of this but this is a recurring gimmick. if a c.e.o. offered stock based on this kind of promises of financial solvency, they woog to jail -- would go to jail. it is bogus as a $3 bill.
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this is what it is. it shifts the timing of corporate income tax payments so the income tax payments come in two, three months sooner and gets it in this fiscal year. and it would collect additional revenue over 2013 through 2017 which is the budget window they were trying to deal with. because not only does the bill spend more but it would violate the budget window over five years also. so this was designed to cover that up. but exactly -- think about it, exactly the same amount of less revenue will occur in the 2014 budget window. if you ask somebody to pay their taxes earlier and they pay it earlier, they don't owe it the next year when you were otherwise expecting to receive it, right? the hyatt of this gimmick was demonstrated years ago when i first came to the senate and i
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was shocked. this is what they did. they moved a social security check from this fiscal year to the next fiscal year. what did that result in? it resulted in having a lot of money to spend this fiscal year, right? c.b.o. says you got more money. you didn't pay your social security money. moved it one day. that's what they wanted to do, move it one day. but what happens to the next fiscal year? is this really a gain or is it a gimmick? it's a gimmick because next fiscal year you got to pay 13 social security checks. in their budget year. it was just a way to spend more today and push off the cost till tomorrow. that's what they did then and that's exactly what this is today.
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it's a smoke and mirrors scheme used to avoid the rules set up in the budget act and the scorekeepers at the congressional budget office to avoid -- to manipulate the scoring to get an advantage in the short term. it simply speeds up this payments in the first five years so it appears we have more money to spend. in reality, the gimmick merely creates a hole in the budget next year because the money that was expected to come in next year is coming in this year is not coming in next year. so this point of order is not a technical issue. it's an issue of whether this body will uphold its commitments to the american people on how much money we're going to spend. congress agreed to certain spending levels in the budget control act. we voted on that. and should stick with those funding levels today. there's no reason for to us violate that.
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so the point of order exists so that congress cannot raise taxes and spend the money whenever it likes when we've agreed to not to spend that money. the point of order which requires 60 votes to waive exists so that the senate does not succumb to political pressure to spend beyond our means. really to try to reduce the amount of spending beyond our means that we are now doing. the senate majority was aware of the budget rules when they wrote this bill. they were aware of it. instead ofying wrig the bill so it complied about the budget act, they decided to go above the agreed-upon spending levels. senator burr, a fine senator, aware of the rules under the budget act and the spending levels set under the budget control act drafted alternative legislation that complied with the budget rules and would fund
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veterans' job program through discretionary spending. unfortunately, the senate majority took much of his policy but will not allow us to vote on the financial concept in the burr bill. will not allow us to have a vote to do reform and aid for veterans within the budget. contrary to what my friends on the other side of the aisle claim, this point of order will not kill the bill. it only returns the bill to the legislative calendar, it will remain right there on the calendar, but it will send directions to the people who support it that if they want it passed, and they do, they should make changes to it so it complies with the budget act. we can still fix and pass this bill before we leave this week. it wouldn't take much time at all to fix this matter.
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a vote in support of the point of order will protect the integrity of the budget process, supporting this point of order will allow us to change the underlying bill so it's fiscally sound and complies with the spending levels we have agreed to. unfortunately, while the senate majority refuses to allow a vote on a reasonable veterans bill that complies with the budget act, they are neglecting the looming cuts that face our military men and women on january 2, 2013, the sequester. given the events happening around the world today, we need to be very careful not to allow these kind of cuts to take place in the first part of next year, and there are various ways we could easily fix that in my
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opinion but we won't even confront that issue. the senate majority has refused to address sequestration, which the secretary of defense, president obama's secretary of defense said would be catastrophic. defense people have said it would hollow out the military, it's too rapid a bite according to the experts in the obama administration and others, but no effort has been brought forward to confront that problem, to bring it up on the floor and have a full debate about it, while we get a $200 million a year bill that we spent a week on or more. we have no time on the floor dedicated -- no time on the floor dedicated to dealing with the sequester which would take $500 billion out of the defense
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budget. this bill would be on the floor today would spend about $1 billion over five years. above the budget. it would spend that much. what about the $500 billion cuts that are looming right now in january? we need to wrestle with that. how we're going to confront that. it's not going to be easy because maybe the defense can sustain some more cuts, but i don't think this much. they've already taken $500 billion in cuts. this would be an additional $500 billion in cuts. the defense department under the plan today which represents 1/6 of the federal government spending, would get half the cuts, and the remaining 5/6 of the federal government would get the other half of the cuts. this is disproportionate, should not have been part of the budget act but they slipped it in in the dead of night and it came to the floor, or we were going to have a government shutdown and people went along
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with it. but it's not good. we need to fix that in my opinion. now, the house republicans have confronted this. they've realized this was a problem and they proposed a budget and a plan to replace and undo the sequester and do it in a way that makes sense without violating the spending levels that we agreed to last august. how many, proposals to fix this problem have we received from senator durbin and senator reid? zero. nothing. they're not doing anything but blocking any attempt to bring up legislation that would fix it. that's why we don't have a defense authorization bill that came out of my committee, the
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armed services committee automaticsly. it's been sitting here, not being brought up. why? because if we do, we'll have a discussion about the sequester and the defense department and the future of america. and they don't want that. the house passed a defense appropriations bill, authorization bill in june or may, and they passed a defense he appropriations bill in june. we passed none of them. not even brought them up. and they want attack republicans as not caring about men and women who serve our country and we're trying to fix the sequester, frying to bring up a defense bill that will do some good and give a pay raise to our men and women in uniform, a small one, but a pay raise. i think this is amazing really.
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so i am really disappointed that we haven't brought up the defense authorization bill which came out might have committee. senator mccain here a few days ago spoke about it, last week. he said shame, shame, shame. can you imagine that for 51 years, every year this senate has passed a defense authorization bill. this will be the first time in 51 years we haven't passed a defense authorization bill, and we've got so many important issues relating to our defense department today. nothing is really more important than that. we spend a whole week the last few days, we can't bate waite
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to get out of this place, discussing a bill that could have been agreed to just like that with senator burr's suggestions. could have been already passed and we could have been dealing with these important issues. i find it really breathtaking, frankly. and let me just point out, the bill is not going to go through the house, and it violates the constitution. the revenue -- it has revenue proposals in this bill. it won't see the light of day in the house because the constitution says revenue bills must be generated in the house. so we wasted all this time producing a bill that can't be
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received by the house and will not. article 1, section 7 of the united states constitution says -- quote -- "all bills for raising revenue must originate in the house of representatives" -- close quote. this is a revenue bill. so what is it? what happened? is it just an idea, let's see, we don't want to talk about the defense appropriations bill, we don't want to talk about the defense authorization bill, that would resolve hundreds of billions of dollars. we don't want to talk about those so let's bring up this veterans bill and we'll bring it up and it violates the budget and you know what those stupid republicans will do, they'll object and say we -- it violates the budget, we shouldn't violate the budget, we object and then you know what we can say? we can say you don't like veterans. you don't believe in honoring those who served our country. you want to know the truth?
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that's what'shappened right her. and it's irresponsible. -- that's what's happened right here and it's irresponsible. so let's pass legislation that will help veterans right now or we're going to send this bill back, i'm confident, to the committee to see if they can come up with some other plan that would be helpful to our veterans and their employment prospects without violating the budget. madam chairman -- president -- i did want to mention one more thing just because i think it's important. the two largest veterans groups -- the v.f.w. and the american legion -- have said these things with regard -- the american
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legion member said, "both bills, burr and murray bill, have ideas on thousand get veterans quality jobs -- on thousand get veterans -- on how to get veterans quality jobs, who added that burr's version stands a better chance of passing. and what about the v.f.w. "the v.f.w. supports concepts behind the veterans job corps bill but we have some concerns about the budgetary implications." that's in "the washington post" today. so we don't have to do it the way this bill has come up. senator burr has offered a very fine proposal that the v.f.w. and the american legion seal to be supportive of. -- seem to be supportive of. let's do it that way and not
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violate our commitment to the american people to live within our budget amount. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. a senator: madam president, let me start with a unanimous consent request. i have 10 unanimous consent requests for the committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask that these requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. i rise gene this morning as i have for a number of months to talk about the most important issue facing the american people and this congress, and that is jobs. and a good-news story on the jobs front has been our wind energy industry. the wind energy industry has
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created thousands of good-paying jobs, and it could create thousands more. but the troubling news that goes along with the good news, madam president, is that the potentially bright future of this industry is uncertain. why? because we hear here in the congress -- because we here in the congress are holding the wind energy industry hostage because we failed to extend the production tax credit. as i've said every day i've been otofloor since -- on the floor since june to discuss this topic, madam president, every day that we fail to extend the p.t.c. for wind energy, more jobs are put at risk. and we've seen this unfortunate reality unfold across the country, as predicted, including in my home state of colorado where over 100 people have lost their jobs. i don't have to tell my colleagues that when you lose jobs, those job losses negatively affect families and
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the communities where they live. and just yesterday -- breaks my heart -- but seimen's century announced they will lay off people in iowa, kansas, and florida. and enough is enough. these layoffs that continue to be announced almost weekly, madam president, should spur us to extend the wind production tax credit without any further delay. jobs are at stake. i mean, it is that straightforward. that is stimulus. -- it is that simple. with many americans already losing their jobs, more jobs are at risk, thousands literally if we don't act. and here's my question: why would we forfeit leadership in an industry that's poised to go even further? there's no reason we should cede leadership of this important industry to china or anywhere else by letting the production tax credit expire? if we commit
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to extending the p.t.c., we will then lead the world in wind power and, madam president, here's in part why i come to the floor every day. i talk about a particular state. there are few places that that's more apparent than in wyoming. wyoming has phenomenal wind reserves. if you've driven through i would wishings you kno-- if you've drh wyoming, you know what i'm talking about. one of the things they have in excess in wyoming is wind. if you talk to the national renewable energy lab based in colorado, they estimate that wyoming has enough wind power potential to meet 116 times the state's energy needs. so you put it another way. well, that's 25 million homes that would be powered by harnessing the wind. wyoming is well on its way to harnessing its wind potential. well, why? because although it ranks 11th, which is not a shabby
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number, there are plans to quadrupled wind power in the state of wyoming. not only would that create thousands of jobs, it would produce enough electricity to power 1..5 million homes. the construction of those projects will create hundreds of nicely paying renewable energy jobs right in the state of wyoming. it's no wonder that the massive wind potential has already attracted investment in manufacturers. to make that point, i want to share a development with you. last year l.a.n. to build the first -- a plan to build the first wind manufacturing facility was announced in wyoming. it was a joint venture between jestamp and worthington wind. the companies announced they would build a facility in
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cheyenne, wyoming. there would be 150 good-paying jobs atafd t attached to that f. they planned to i invest $40 million in the plant. here's the twist, madam president. you've heard me say this before. that project has now been put on hold. those jobs and the millions in investment that were planned to be directed into wyoming have been shelved. this isn't an isolated incident. there are wind manufacturing facilities and wind projects across the country where we're seeing exactly the same thing happening. and the reason is clear: uncertainty over the future of the production tax credit. so our inaction here in the congress is putting good-paying american jobs at risk and reducing opportunities for further investments in this growing industry. there's just no reason for t the
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p.t.c. has strong support from both sides of the aisle and from both houses of the congress, and of course a broad array of groups in the private sector support the wind energy industry. and, madam president, just yesterday a group of businesses from across the country wrote to leaders in the house and the senate urging us to bring up and pass an extension of the p.t.c. as soon as possible. businesses like starbucks and levlevis joined a diverse groupf companies including colorado's own aspen skiing company and urged us to work across the divide, work across the aisle, and extend the p.t.c. these companies understand how positive the production tax credit has been for jocks and -n for jobs and for national security and they made that case yesterday in the letter. i ask that the letter be included in the record. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. udall: so, madam president, as i conclude, i want to also remind all of us that in august before we adjourned for our month of state work period, our senate finance committee passed legislation that would include an extension of the production tax credit. and i was really encouraged to so that the committee bridged the partisan divide here to advantages what is really truly a commonsense policy that will help our american economy and our middle class. we should build on what the finance committee did and take up and pass this legislation as soon as possible. the longer we delay, the more jobs we put at risk and the more that our economic recovery is at risk. it is very six the production tax credit -- it's very six the production tax credit equals jobs of we should pass it as soon as possible.
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so, colleagues, let's work together. let's find a path forward and pass this critical tax credit as soon as possible. madam president, i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. officer if without objection. mr. coburn: i with aens to spend a few moments talking about the budget point of order imu really a bigger topic. we're going to have a vote at noon, and the question in my
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mind is, will we at some point in the future recognize the hole that we're in? when i talk to individual members, they all agree, yeah, we're in a hole. we've got a problem. and it's getting ready to bite this country in ways that are unimaginable in terms of it's impact on the everyday citizen of this country. and yet in the senate we've done mog to address the bigger problems facing the country, and now we have a bill that has a budget point of order lying against it, and the question is, will we continue the behavior that put our country in the problems that we're in today, or will we take a new track?
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the information -- the desire to help veterans is a noble desire. but there's a lot of points about this bill that the average american and the average veteran ought to be asking. there's also questions about what are the other things that we're doing for jobs for veterans and how well are they working? we have six veteran job training programs. we already have a preference across the federal government for hiring veteransment we have s.b.a. programs like crazy, we have contracting programs, we have all these programs but not one hearing has been held by the committee of jurisdiction on the job training programs or the other programs we have to enhance the economic well-being
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of our veterans. and so what we have is a bill that's brought to the floor that has good intentions behind it but shows the absolute laziness of congress in terms of really digging things out. when the g.a.o. issued their duplication report on the job training programs for veterans, four of them do exactly the same thing. none of them have a metric. so we don't know if they're working, and we haven't held a hearing to find out if they're working. but what are we doing? we're proposing another job program for veterans without having done the serious work of how we invest $1 billion. now, the other thing that we should know is we're spending $1 billion a year right now on veteran job training programs. this bill has $1 billion over five.
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the second point i would like to make -- and i think it was made by the ranking member of the budget committee -- is we're -- there's no honest accounting in this bill. regardless of the budget point of order or the blue slip, the nonconstitutionality of originating revenue bills in the senate there is absolutely no transparency nor correctness, nor character or integrity in the financing of this bill. when we find ourselves $16 trillion in debt and we're going to pay for another bill over five years by ten years of changes, we never get out of the problem. we make the problem worse.
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what are we doing? and who are we doing it for? and are we really thinking about veterans when we don't solve the bigger problems, and we have manifest presence in this bill of the very problems we say we need to be addressing but yet we're making them worse with this bill? we're making the financial problems worse with this bill. i'm befuddled and disappointed that we cannot as a group of individuals who all love this country very much come together under some certain baseline principles we ought to be operating in the senate. and the first of those ought to be we ought to do nothing now that makes the problem worse for our kids and grandkids.
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you know, we're at now over $200,000 per family of debt per household in this country. we're over $200,000. it's actually about $225,000. now, think about that median family income over the last four years has gone down 9% in this country. 9%. and we're going to make sure it goes down even further if we continue to do what we're doing in this bill. so we've gone from $54,900 median family income to $50,200 in the last four years, median family income, and we got gas prices as high as they've ever been, and we're going to
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perpetuate a system that says we're going to continue to make the problem worse, not better. there's also another little gimmick in this bill that if you were to do it in private, you'd go to jail for it. and that is we're going to charge corporations more income tax than what they actually owe to get past a year and then after the year's over we're going to flip it back so we can say we paid for something when we really didn't. it violates all aspects of integrity and honesty. and you know what the answer i hear when we're trying to do it 12347, oh, we've done it in the past. well, it wasn't right in the past and it certainly is not right now to lie, to cheat, to be dishonest about the
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accounting principles surrounding this bill in terms of how we pay for it. because in essence it violates paygo. the very rule that we say was going to help us get out of our problems, that 67 times has been waived in the last three years. as a matter of fact, i don't know the last time a paygo challenge was not waived. so the second principle that we ought to be dealing with is that we ought to follow the rules that we set up for ourselves that are supposed to discipline us in terms of getting our country out of the problem, which we are regrettably continually ignoring. so if, in fact, you want to help veterans get jobs, there's loot of ways for us to do it. one is, make sure the job
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programs that we have today are working, and they're not. and if they're not working, why are we continuing to spend a billion dollars a year on it? number two, create a level of confidence in this country by our own behavior that we're actually addressing the real problems in front of the country rather than the political dynamics of an election that says we want to do something and everybody in this chamber knows even if we pass this bill, it's not going to accomplish anything because, in fact, it has a blue slip against it because of the constitution. so on monday mornings when i get up, i get up about 4:30 to catch a flight to come back up here. and i've noticed that i have an attitude problem. i don't want to come anymore. and the reason i don't want come
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anymore is because we're not doing anything to address the real problems that are in front of our country. we're ignoring the real problems so we can create political con tradz for our -- contrasts, for an election all the while the country is sinking, sinking and sinking. and what it is is a lack of leadership. you know, you can lead in the wrong direction knowing what the problems are and make mistakes and you can be forgiven for that. but when you know what the real problems are and you're ignoring them, it's unforgivable failure of leadership. and that's where we find ourselves. i heard my colleague mention the defense authorization bill.
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there's absolutely no excuse for us not to have passed a defense authorization bill that gives the planning, the direction, and the commitment for this country's future in terms of our defense needs. the number-one priority for us as a congress, according to the constitution. and yet we've not done that. we've made the immediate political situation trump everything. that's the opposite of leadership. it's actually cowardice, because when you're a leader and you duck the real problems in front of you, you take everybody down with you. the well-intentioned and the not well-intentioned and that's where we are. as a country, as a senate, by not addressing the real issues of this country.
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i don't know what's going to happen on the votes on this bill. but i know what needs to happen in the senate. there needs to be a renewed sense of awareness of what the real problems are facing this country. and a redoubling of our commitment to shed partisan robes and get down to fixing the real problems in front of us. and parochialism has no place in that discussion. the political careers of members have no place in that discussion. the real future of our country is at risk. and we're, like the proverbial person with their head in the sand, ignoring that risk.
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the greatest country in the world is on the precipice of falling, predicted long ago by such people as john adams and thomas jefferson. that the day would come that we in fact would put the political ahead of the best interest of our country. that's what you're seeing played out in washington. that's exactly what you're seeing played out with this bill. the american people deserve much better than that. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, before the senator leaves, i would ask a question. according to the g.a.o., in 2009 -- and the reason i'm
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asking senator coburn about this, because there's nobody of this 100 senators that are here today who has spent more hours, effort, and time in dealing with the duplicative programs of the federal government than senator coburn. and he brought these issues up time and again, but i would just ask, according to the g.a.o. in 2009, senator coburn, i understand that nine federal agencies spent $18 billion to administer 47 job training programs. you've looked into that, i know i've heard you speak about that in specific. i was surprised that you brought out that there are already six programs for veterans now and this would be a new one added to it. what is your view of what a responsible congress should do when we learn that we are spending thch money -- this
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much money on all these programs with their own bureaucrats, can we do better? mr. coburn: absolutely. let me give the people some hope. virginia foxx, a representative from north carolina in the house who is chairman of the subcommittee on work force and labor, has passed a bill out of her committee that consolidates 33 of those job training programs into one. puts metrics on every one of them. so we'll know if they're working. requires mandatory oversight of them. the reason she didn't do all 47 is 14 of them are not in her jurisdiction. but add to it another $4 billion and another 20-plus programs for the disabled. so we actually have almost 70 programs and $23 billion a year we're spending on job training of which nobody knows -- as a matter of fact, i know they're not working. we actually released a report on
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job training in oklahoma. we looked at every job training -- federal job training and state job training program going on in oklahoma. you know what works? oklahoma programs. you know what doesn't work? federal job training programs. in oklahoma. we have one city in oklahoma has 16,000 people has 17 federal job training centers and an unemployment rate of 4.7%. 17 different federal agencies in one city of 16,000 people with an unemployment rate of 4.7%. what we are doing is employing people in the job training industry, which may be good if they're having results, but we have results that are untenable. so the real question -- and job training is just one area of our federal government. we have -- the g.a.o. has released reports on duplication, their final report will come february of this year where they will have looked at the entire federal government. and what we know right now is if
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we did our work, did our work, over the next ten years we would save $200 billion by eliminating duplication in federal program. $200 billion. i said over ten years. that's $200 billion per year. it's $2 trillion over ten years. we can save $200 billion per year. sequestration? we wouldn't be having sequestration if we did our job, if we did our oversight, if's consolidated programs, made them transparent and made them accountable and put metrics to see if they're working and did the oversight to see that they're working. we wouldn't be in sequestration. we wouldn't have near the problems that we have today. but the failure is us. the congress has failed to do its job. and the consequences will not be borne by us.
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the consequentials -- the consequences will be borne by the son of my new grandson who is almost 7 weeks old. that is who will pay the consequence pes, is the children of this country when we fail to do our job. so i appreciate your leadership. i'm going to support your point of order. it's the right thing to do. and i didn't even talk about the areas that you talked about in terms of we set up this budget agreement for two years and i'll tell you what, the c.r. coming, this is the irony of all ironies. had we not had that budget agreement and we did a c.r., we would spend $2.6 billion less next year if we had a clean c.r. than under the budget control act that we passed.
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by doing the budget control act we're actually going to spend more money than we did last year. so everything's upside down in washington because everything's political or parochial and nobody's thinking long term about the big problems facing our country. i yield the floor. mr. sessions: mr. chairman i chang thank the senator from oklahoma. he served on the debt commission, is steeped on the challenges facing our country and i salute senator burr for coming forward with a proposal that i think would do the job within the budget and regretfully i think will end this matter today, and the legislation that's coming forward through the budget point of order. i thank the chair and yield the floor. mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president, the
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senator from alabama knows the personal friendship that we have and my high regard for him and the privilege that i have had working with him over the years, and it has been a working relationship. i just want to say that regardless of what you feel about a budget and a budget point of order, we are talking about a technicality to kill a bill to help unemployed veterans at a time that they desperately need help, because they are coming back from iraq and afghanistan and they can't find work, and until we come out of the recession and the recovery is under way but veterans have a higher percent of unemployment and especially veterans under
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age 24 have an even higher percentage of unemployed, and so what we have here is a piece of legislation to give an unemployment cushion for veterans for at least a year until they can find employment in the private sector, and this is employment to do things that we need since so many of our national resources such as parks, such as emergency responders, such as firefighters, such as police need help. look at all the unfunded things that are deteriorating in the national parks. this would be an opportunity to employ those veterans and employ them up to a year. everybody knows that this makes
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common sense and it's the right thing to do, and what's happening is the folks on that side of the aisle because we are in an election and because this happened to be a proposal coming out of the white house and is brought to the floor by this senator from florida, they're not going to support it and they're going to kill it on a technicality by denying us 60 votes in order to waive the budgetary point of order. now, that's the bottom line, that's what's going on here, and it's sad and yet that's what's happening. just look at the votes in the last week. here we passed the motion for cloture on the motion to proceed by 95-1. doesn't that tell you something? and then we had the second procedural vote, it was 84-8.
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all we need is 60 votes to get over this hurdle and to get to the bill and then probably pass it by unanimous consent because everybody agrees with the substance of this. it's clear that commonsense legislation that has bipartisan support is getting thwarted in this chamber, and that's because we all know how important it is to help our veterans find work as they return home. now, does the senator from oklahoma want to ask a question? you know this senator from oklahoma knows my respect for him and my personal friendship for him, and i admire the senator in the courageous stance, but the senator would
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understand that i respectfully say that in a need so great as unemployed veterans, this is not the time to draw a technical line on a budget, and i would earnestly and respectfully request of my friend that this be one of the considerations that he would make. would the senator want to engage in any conversation, or i will go on and just -- mr. coburn: i would just like to ask the president of the senate if we could have a real back and forth debate on this, with you controlling the time. i have no difficulty with that. but one of the reasons i came out is i don't agree with the substance of this bill, and i don't want you to make a statement from the senate floor that everybody does. we have six veterans' job training programs that nobody has oversighted.
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nobody knows if they work. mr. nelson: what i would suggest to my friend -- and he knows that he is my friend -- if he has a difference of opinion, i respect that and i want him to share that. i'd like to go on and just complete my very brief statement here, and then for the senator to state whatever it is. the unemployment rate among veterans returning from iraq and afghanistan was hovering around 11%, and for those unemployed veterans in the age 24 and less, it's even higher. we have taken steps to combat this problem. this past summer, we passed legislation that will help veterans get federal occupational licenses when their military training matches civilian requirements. that made sense.
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that made common sense. as a matter of fact, we got that through the senate unanimously, and that was signed into law, and that was to say that a veteran gets all of this specialized training, and they ought to be able to utilize that training without having to go through all the training and the re kind of licensing. we could do that -- and we passed what is now law -- we could do that in federal law where there is a similar kind of requirement. now what's in this bill is to do that for the state occupational requirements, to take a veteran who has a military discipline, a specialty, and as that veteran is applying for a private sector
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job that happens to be covered by state law on the occupational requirements and requirements of licensing, that that is a consideration instead of the veteran having to go through all of that again. now, that just makes common sense, and that particular idea was offered by the senator from arkansas, senator pryor, and is a part of the bill, just like senator murray, she is here on the floor, the chairman of the committee, reached out and incorporated a number -- and she can address that -- a number of the different ideas bipartisan, not just my idea, which is the one that i was talking about that veterans can have employment up to a year, but so many others that are incorporated into the bill that
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came out of committee. and so we -- we already did something about matching civilian requirements, albeit what was signed into law was just with regard to federal employ. last year also, we passed a bill that granted tax benefits to companies that hire wounded warriors. and, of course, you know what inspiration that all the rest of us take from the wounded warriors. the senator and i from time to time go to bethesda to what used to be called bethesda naval, now is the combined all-military services walter reed. i just -- every one of us that goes out there and you suddenly
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see these veterans coming in on these new kind of computer controlled prosthesis where they can actually walk and run even when their leg has been blown off above the knee, it's -- it just pulls at your heart and yet you're so glad that technology has moved. but those same ladies and gentlemen need jobs, and until the recovery is complete, they're having difficulty. that's why i filed this bill. and the chairman of the committee and the ranking member have done their best to work across the aisle. veterans don't care to hear about why we can't help them. they don't care to hear about technicalities of a budget point of order. they want our country to support them in the way that they have
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supported us, and that is an obligation. a lot of us in this chamber have served in the military, and it's ingrained, i think, in every senator here that we have an obligation to those who have served this country. this effort here today that we're going to vote on in 20 minutes has the broad support from veterans and police organizations, the disabled american veterans, the military officers association of america, the national association of police organizations, the american legion. they all support it. the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america have called and pleaded for its immediate
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passage. and they know why. because their veterans need, and they need to know that congress has their back. so i just make a plea to the senate, we just need a few votes from that side of the aisle to get to the threshold of 60 to waive the technicality of the budget point of order. and, madam president, i would yield the floor and i would be looking forward to my friend's comments. mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. nelson: the time is controlled over here. i would reserve, madam president, the final seven minutes for the chairman of the committee. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: my colleague from florida raises some good points about our desire, about us
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wanting to help our veterans. i don't think there is anybody here that does not recognize the significant sacrifice. as a matter of fact, it wasn't long ago that the 45th from oklahoma lost 17 people in afghanistan and hundreds wounded. the real question is how do you help them the best? how do you really help veterans? you know, we're going to have plenty of opportunities to always say there's a reason to not do the right thing for the long-term best interests of our country. we have never found ourselves in the predicament that we find ourselves in today in terms of our financial exposure. the real risk to the veterans that have jobs today -- which
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nobody is talking about -- the real risk for them, because when this thing goes down -- and i'm talking about the financial collapse of this country. when it happens, those that have jobs that are veterans, they're going to lose them. so there could be a no more noble cause than to make an exception for veterans, except that's not what the senate does. we make an exception every time, every time. here's the question for my friend. under what system of values, honor and integrity did these veterans serve? the highest and noblest of honor and integrity.
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without a doubt. they put their life on the line so i don't have to, so my adult, mature children in their 30's and 40's don't have to. the difference is is what they put their life on the line for was to ensure that the freedom and liberty and vibrancy of this country goes forward. and we're taking a little pocketknife to one of the legs of the three-legged stool with our actions and slowly nibbling the support of that leg. we're taking it away by our very action. mr. nelson: madam president, i'd like to respond to my
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friend. mr. coburn: if i could finish? we're going to say that the financial condition of the country doesn't matter. we're going to say that it doesn't matter if the $1 billion we're spending a year are already on veterans job training programs. it doesn't matter. we're going to say here's a year's program of jobs for 20,000 veterans and it's going to trump everything else. you know, you wouldn't have any objection from this senator if you actually really paid for this, one; if you didn't violate paygo, and you really did it in a way that oversighted the president's job training programs that we had, and you really did it the way that
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matches the integrity and honor of our veterans. we didn't do that. now, we played games. we played games with the budget rules. we played games with paygo. we didn't do any oversight. we didn't even have a hearing. there was no hearing on this bill. you took senator burr's suggestions which were commonsense, and applied it broadly across the government. but we didn't match the honor and integrity and valor and purpose. and when i meet with veterans in town hall meetings, i ask them why they serve. you know what they tell me? because this is the greatest country the world has ever known, and they want to keep it that way. what we're doing today doesn't keep it that way. it doesn't keep it that way. it perpetuates the same problems that have created the very, very
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dangerous situation that this country's in. so when we make a claim that everybody agrees with this bill, i just want to say i don't agree with the bill. there's a whole lot of ways to help veterans that is better than that, that gives them a permanent job. we passed the g.i., the post-9/11 g.i. bill; right? you can get paid a stipend while you go to college to learn a new skill, the same as a noncom officer. you get paid for the books and tuition and everything else, so you can become whole as you learn a skill. we have the capability for studies while we're in the military. we have six separate job training programs that we're spending $1 billion a year on. the best way to help veterans is to fix this country's economic
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situation to create opportunity, and they'll fly, because they've already proven that they have the initiative, the strength, the moral courage, the integrity and the valor to accomplish anything that they want to accomplish. so i'm in disagreement with my friend. i think we have a political device in front of us, and i'm going to be very interested to see the character of the senate on whether it succumbs to the parochial and political over the best long-term interests of the country. and if it does, it just proves that the senate needs to be changed to truly address the real problems for the country. that's what it's going to prove, regardless of the outcome. do we have the character? do we match the valor, honor and
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integrity of the people who serve this nation in the armed forces with our willingness to sacrifice our political careers to do what's in the best long-term interest of the country? they set the example for us. the question is whether or not we'll follow their example. i yield to my friend the floor. mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president, before the time that is reserved for the chairman of the committee, i just want to respond to my friend -- and he is my friend -- from oklahoma by telling him why i think he's wrong on this issue and tell him by way of a compliment to him. because the senator from oklahoma and i, the senator from florida, had worked together -- he being much more prominent in the efforts to bring the budget under the control a year ago.
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in having discussions across the aisle, often private discussions, what started as a group known as the gang of six that grew, blossomed into what in effect became a group of 45. and i think that was the number of us that stood up in the senate press gallery in the summer a year ago -- it was the summer of 2011 -- and said that we want add big, $4 trillion-plus budget deficit. and we pointed out ways that we could get there. indeed, what this senator has said, i have heard other republican senators -- and i will name one -- who we feel almost and have said very close to identical things publicly.
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and that is senator lindsey graham. and he stated it on "meese -- "meet the press" a couple of months that the way you get there is reducing revenue through reform of the tax code, by going after all of the tax preferences which have ballooned out of control since the last tax reform bill in 1986 that this senator, then a young congressman, voted for, to the point that tax expenditures, tax preferences are now $14 trillion over ten years. a lot of them have outlived their usefulness. a lot of them, their special interests or sponsors would tell you we wouldn't want that if we can have a certainty of a lower rate. and, therefore, we have said many times on this floor and in
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public statements, you can take tax preferences, restrain them, use that revenue to do two things: lower everybody's tax rates, including corporate. streamline the tax code by getting all this underbrush of preferences out of the way. and then use the rest of the revenue to lower the deficit. now, i suspect that the senator and i feel very similar about that issue. and so when he talks about reforming the spending process, the fiscal process, which includes the revenue process of this country, then i think we have grounds for significant agreement. and i would hope that we're going to address that in the lame-duck session that starts. my plea today is that we don't take it out in this particular
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case on something that can be done immediately for veterans in need returning home from iraq and afghanistan. mr. coburn: would the senator yield for a question? mr. nelson: of course. mr. coburn: through the chair i'd ask the senator how did he vote on the tax extender package coming out of the senate finance committee? because that's the real test of whether or not you want to reform the tax code. if i recall, you voted for it and i voted against it. there's a very big difference. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. i might remind all the senators we are on the floor on a very important bill. i want to thank senator bill nelson for his leadership and passion in making sure our veterans get back to work at the time they have a 20%-plus unemployment rate and his work on the bill as we move to this point. madam president, i have been
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listening to the debate on this bill. what i've heard are some pretty weak arguments against the merits of this legislation. i've heard we haven't held hearings on the employment or on the provisions in this legislation. the senators that spoke may not have known they're not on our committee but we have had hearings last year and this year and on this bill. veterans groups and v.a. at multiple hearings in fact have had the opportunity to give their views. and the cops and safer grants programs that are in this have been around for years and we know that they work. the point that i heard reiterated here was that the bill wasn't paid for, violated paygo. as all bills that come before the senate, this bill is fully paid for. it does not violate paygo rules. we are going to have a vote shortly on a point of order on this bill and a vote to support the point of order, plain and simple, says we've spent enough
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now on our veterans. that's what it says. we've spent enough on our veterans. a vote to support this point of order says despite the fact that we have paid for this bill, despite the fact that one in our four young veterans today are out of work and despite the fact that veterans suicides are outpacing combat deaths, and despite the tact that more and more veterans are coming home today, we're not going to invest in those challenges. it says we've done enough. well, madam president, this point of order puts a price on what we as a country are willing to provide our veterans and says we're not going to do a penny more. it's a point of order that not only will it kill our ability, i would tell my colleagues, to pass this bill, but it will also affect every effort we make to improve the lives of our veterans going forward. in fact, just last week our committee held a markup in the
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veterans' affairs committee. we passed a slew of bills in a bipartisan fashion. those were really important bills to improve mental health access, to give students new tools so they could maximize their g.i. benefit. and, importantly, would give veterans who have lost their ability to start a family access to fertility services. all of those bills under this would be subject to a point of order as would of course countless of other bills introduced by senators on both sides of the aisle. there is no end in sight, i would tell everyone, for how long this point of order could be raised. so we have to consider as we vote on this the lasting effect of this vote that we are about to take. and we should all consider the fact that veterans are watching this vote very closely. mr. president, this is a bill that has been endorsed by the american legion and by the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. they know use i do, neither
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party has a magic bullet for this problem of employment. we should be taking good ideas from both sides of the aisle which is exactly what we've done with this bill that's before us. this bill includes 12 different provisions to help create veterans' jobs. eight of them are ideas that have come from republicans. in fact, to make this bill even more inclusive and more bipartisan, we took nor burr's entire -- we took senator burr's entire alternative bill and added it to our bill and at every turn we have sought compromise. instead of meeting it halfway we've been met with resistance. instead of saying yes to nearly one million unemployed veterans, it seems that some on the other side of the aisle has spent the last week and a half seeking any way to say no. it doesn't have to end this way for our unemployed veterans. we can join together and pass
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this bill. you know, mr. president, as you've heard me say, our veterans don't ask for a lot. my own father never talked about his service. the veterans i meet across the country don't want to be seen as dependent on government. but we owe them more than a pat on the back and send them out to the world when they come home. we owe them more than bumper stickers and platitudes. we owe them more than procedural roadblocks which is what we will vote on shortly that will impede our ability to provide them not hoepbl now, but -- not only help now but into the future. mr. president, we owe them action. we owe them real investments that will help them get back to work, and that is what this legislation does. and it does so because putting our service members back to work is a cost of war. putting our veterans back to work is a cost of war, just like their health care and benefits,

U.S. Senate
CSPAN September 19, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EDT


TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 45, America 17, Romney 12, Oklahoma 12, Wyoming 11, Mr. Coburn 10, Florida 9, Mr. Nelson 8, The Navy 7, United States 7, Afghanistan 6, Madam 6, Washington 6, Burma 6, Mr. Reid 5, Pentagon 5, U.s. 4, Mr. Durbin 4, Alabama 4, Coburn 4
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